There are terrorists living in Charlotte County.
Not the kind you see wearing masks and killing innocent people over in Baghdad or Saudi Arabia.
These terrorists are Americans who think their cause is just and they are willing to scare, intimidate and possibly harm innocent, God-fearing people.
Right down the street from our newspaper sits the Islamic mosque. The sign on the building reads Islamic Community of Southwest Florida. It is where area Muslims go to pray. This week, terrorists have been at work intimidating and threatening the law-abiding Americans who pray there.
That's who the folks who defaced the sign in front of the mosque are. They intimidate, threaten and otherwise try to get what they want by cowardly acts of terror.
Besides defacing the sign, the local Islamic worshippers found a phone message on the mosque answering machine threatening retribution against local Muslims because of the violence inflicted on Americans by al-Qaida terrorists overseas.
The logic involved in blaming Americans for the acts of foreign terrorists is bizarre and misguided.
The terrorists who killed Americans Nick Berg and Paul Johnson are Muslims. They are a type of religious fanatic that has very little to do with the true meaning of their faith.
I would guess that the majority of the Ku Klux Klan members who beat, raped and lynched black Americans not so long ago were probably Baptists. Does that make Jimmy Carter a Klan member? I think not…
Two of the active members of the Islamic Community visited our newspaper Friday and they were shaken up a bit by the latest threats. It is easy for some folks who listen to the news and hear about car bombings, beheadings and kidnappings to worry that the terrorist enemies of America are plotting still more tragedy within our nation's borders.
But the folks who worship at the Islamic center are doctors, mothers, teachers and citizens just like the rest of us. They pay their taxes, send their children to the same schools and shop in the same stores as we all do. They are a part of Charlotte County. Intimidating a minority based on what religion they practice is wrong. It diminishes us all when we allow it to continue